Will Smith stars as the highly driven father to tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams in the first trailer for King Richard.
Smith portrays Richard Williams in the biopic, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters And Men) while the Williams sisters themselves are played by Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, per The Hollywood Reporter. Aunjanue Ellis, Tony Goldwyn and Jon Bernthal also appear as Oracene “Brandi” Williams and coaches Paul Cohen and Rick Macci respectively.
Both Williams sisters dominated the tennis world for years during their peak, often appearing against each other in Grand Slam finals. Serena has gone on to win more Grand Slam singles titles (23) than any other woman or man during the open era. The pair also won 14 Grand Slam titles as a doubles team, as well as three doubles gold medals at the Olympics.
According to Warner Bros., King Richard presents Smith’s character as “an undeterred father” with a “relentless drive and unapologetic vision to change the game” who is “instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, who will end up changing the sport of tennis forever.”
“I wrote a 78-page plan for their whole career before they were even born,” Richard says in the clip, before telling his daughters: “You’re going to be representing every little Black girl on earth.”
King Richard will be released in cinemas on November 19, with a HBO Max release scheduled for December 20. Watch the trailer below.
Earlier this month (July 6), it was suggested that Smith reportedly almost missed out on his role in Independence Day “because he’s Black”.
Screenwriter Dean Devlin and director Roland Emmerich recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter for the film’s 25th anniversary, explaining how they fought to cast Smith alongside Jeff Goldblum.
Recalling casting conversations with 20th Century Fox at the time, Devlin explained: “They said, ‘You cast a Black guy in this part, you’re going to kill foreign [box office]’. Our argument was, ‘Well, the movie is about space aliens. It’s going to do fine foreign.’
“It was a big war, and Roland [Emmerich] really stood up for [Smith] — and we ultimately won that war.”